Monarch butterfly numbers have plunged. This project near Modesto could help them

in Environment

Three scientists trudged Friday through a riverside preserve near Modesto, in search of a certain kind of caterpillar.

Dos Rios Ranch has joined the effort to reverse the decline of the Western monarch butterfly. The staff last May planted about 150 acres of milkweed, where this species lays its eggs.

A year later, the plants are about 2 feet tall and the scientists have started to sample the stems and leaves for monarch eggs and caterpillars.

“The hope is that this habitat will support Western monarchs along with many other different pollinators,” said Angela Laws, endangered species conservation biologist for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

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